Press-on nails (or acrylic nails, or stick-on nails!) have become the most buzzed about beauty accessory. They are literally everywhere at the moment, gracing the fingers of everyone from Beyoncé, Ariana Grande and Kim Kardashian West to Priyanka Chopra, Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez.
Google searches for press-on nails have grown by 32.2% through the past year. Experts put this down to the sheer convenience of stick-on nails… the lack of mess, a much lower need for dexterity (if I can do it with my two left thumbs, YOU definitely can!) and an ever-increasing variety of options, including custom made versions.
And I am not surprised. As someone who doesn’t have the patience to sit around while my nail polish dries, hates gel or acrylic manicures (the last time it took two months to rehabilitate my nails!), and would not even make an attempt at hand drawn nail art, press-on nails and nail stickers give a degree of flawlessness and convenience that’s beyond precious.
It also helps that press-on nails have come a long way from the ’90s, with higher-quality materials and finishes that look glam rather than tacky.
They also come in a whole range of shapes, sizes and thicknesses to suit everyone… and the glue quality has gotten so much better!
Cue: Luxury nails brands like Olive & June, Static Nails, ManiMe, imPress and The Nailest have jumped on the bandwagon full form, with some saying that stick-on nails are outperforming their traditional nail polishes!
So, how to go about putting on those press-on nails with absolute perfection? Here’s the step-by-step process from the manicure mavens for fingers and toes that sparkle sans ugly bumps and ragged edges.
Step 1: Start with room temperature hands
I would never have thought of this in a zillion years — if your hands are too cold or too warm, the press-on nails may start peeling off too soon.
Step 2: Clean your nails
Remove all traces of old nail polish, along with every speck of oil, grease, hand cream and dust before applying the stick-on nails — else, they will start to peel away too quickly. So, wipe down your nails with a nail polish remover before starting.
Step 3: Corner those cuticles
The best thing is to give yourself a manicure before applying the press-on nails. However, if you’re in a rush, just make sure to push down your cuticles (with an orange wood stick) so the press-on nails don’t stick to them instead of the actual nail. Also buff out any ridges but do NOT shine your nails — a not-so-smooth surface will give better grip.
Step 4: Pick your size
Size is important — anything that’s too big or too small will look untidy. Select the best stick-on nails by placing the template over your actual nail, with the curved end up to the cuticle. Ensure that the sides do not overlap onto the skin — you can trim them if necessary but do not touch the length at this time.
Step 5: Place and stretch
Remove the stick-on nails from their protective backing by holding the straight edge at the top (try not to touch the curved end as this will affect the adhesive). If the nails do not come with an adhesive backing, this is the time to dab on the glue.
Next, apply the press-on over your natural nail, starting at the base of the nail bed; place the curved end as close as possible to the cuticle without touching it. If it’s a flexible wrap, slightly stretch it over the top of your nail to make sure it lies smooth. Try to place it accurately the first time as pulling it on and off will affect how well it stays on your nail.
Step 6: Trim off the excess
This is always the trickiest step. Gently smooth the excess length over the end of your nail, letting it stick to your finger to keep it taut. Finally file off the excess length using downward strokes. You can use a small pair of nail clippers to clean off any white edges that remain after filing.
Do you like press-on nails? Which are your favorite brands?